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Old August 9th, 2013, 08:37 PM   #1
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Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

I'll start off by saying lighting is my weakness when it comes to production. My first big lighting kit I ever purchased was for my home green screen studio, which was all fluorescents. It has served me well. I then purchased an ARRI Softbox I, as seen here:
Arri Softbank I Tungsten 4 Light Kit (120V AC)571984P B&H Photo


I bought it for shooting music videos and short films. However, it's seldom that I shoot those types of projects as at the local/indie level they pay nothing or next to it. I shoot far more corporate/interview type stuff. I watched Doug Jensen's video on Interview Lighting (the old one using tungsten lights) and decided I'd like to scale down to what he uses in the video (although currently I use available light or an on camera Comer 1800 LED). B&H has a set that's almost what he details in the video. Primarily speaking, it's missing an extra Lowel Pro Light, warm cards, and grip gear. Here's the set:
B&H Photo Doug Jensen's Interview Kit B&H Photo Video


What I'm wondering is if I should just use my ARRI light kit to film interviews by investing in some dimmers, a snoot, and reflector, or should I sell the ARRI kit as it currently doesn't get used often, or keep both? Keeping is probably the best option, but I wouldn't mind using the money from one to finance the other. Could I possibly use Doug's custom kit for use in the occasional film/music video, or is not high powered enough and lacking in fresnels (do I even need fresnels)? I honestly hate lugging the heavy ARRI kit and dealing with the long set up time and incredibly high powered lights for minor projects.

Also, does anyone have a recommended bag/case (preferably with wheels) that they could suggest for use with Doug's kit? Thanks!!
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Old August 10th, 2013, 08:48 AM   #2
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Patrick: without going into the details of whether to keep the ARRI kit parts, or not, I've been a big fan of transporting all my lighting gear in Pelican/Storm cases with the padded divider kits. Significantly smaller footprint than the big silver ARRI box. Still a heavy sucker, though.

In a perfect world, you'd have an incandescent kit (generally the best looking light for the least amount of money, but hot and electricity hogs), an HMI kit for the times when you need a lot of daylight punch (very expensive, but great light) and a full LED set up like Doug describes in his very worthwhile LED lighting DVD. (Also very expensive, sometimes less than stellar color reproduction by the cheaper units, less punch than the HMIs, but oh so cool and low power draw).

If you are mostly doing corp/interview stuff...take a serious look at going LED. With some fresnels. If you haven't seen Doug's "Lighting with LED" DVD, watch it before making any LED decisions.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Patrick...I was able to use Doug Jensen's LED kit in Aug '2012 during a 'How to Create Corporate Videos' Workshop at Maine Media College. When asked about the Lite Panels LED kit, Doug was very enthusiastic, outlining the very same features he talks about in his new 'LED Lights DVD'. At the time, I did not have a lighting kit, so it made sense for me to consider LED's. After a lot of 'soul searching' and budget analysis, I purchased a 'modified' version of Doug Jensen's recommended Lite Panel LED's.

Now, with that said, there is an on-going debate regarding the 'quality' of LED lights in-general. Discussions about CRI, etc. The critics of LED's describe the quality of light (with some LED's) as "the just dug up cadaver look". There are also very smart people currently investigating the whole spectrum (pun intended) of LED lighting and I expect the results of their testing will be illuminating (pun...well, you get it). : )

Bottom line? And this is JMHO, I spent a considerable amount of money on an Lite Panels LED lighting kit. I'm very satisfied with the quality of the light, I love the convenience of powering everything with batteries and the power efficiency, no cords to trip over, and I don't miss having to handle hot light fixtures and bulbs. But, all of this 'convenience' comes at a price ($$).

As far as 'transportation cases', it's hard to go wrong with Pelican Cases. Their heavy, but solid.

I hope this helps you in your decision making process.

Regards,

J.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Thanks, guys. My budget cannot accommodate LED lights right now. I decided not to bother with Doug's LED video because I'd read some reviews here, and it looks like his kit starts at $6k. I cannot even justify that cost for the relatively little amount of use it would get. I also saw the criticism of the quality of the light, which concerns me.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

I find that 20% of my lights get used 80% of the time, but that is because I get consistent results with them and minimal fuss. Still, I'm longing for a quality set of 1x1 LED's that I can travel with. So the long and short of it is, are you wasting time on setups that could be better served elsewhere? Are you traveling often enough to warrant a lighter kit? Can you go piecemeal on your purchases and let each shoot offset the cost of new gear?
I don't run the 650 Arri's or high-wattage light nearly as often as when I was shooting with an XH-A1, but it's really nice to have the 'punch' when needed. Lighting gear (maintained properly) will outlast our businesses...so I'd be in favor of keeping what you have, and adding as you go.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 11:04 AM   #6
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

oren-

"I find that 20% of my lights get used 80% of the time..."

very interesting observation.

care to share what lighting instruments you pull from your kit most of the time?

thanks in advance.

be well.

rob
smalltalk productions
nyc
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Old August 30th, 2013, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
Thanks, guys. My budget cannot accommodate LED lights right now. I decided not to bother with Doug's LED video because I'd read some reviews here, and it looks like his kit starts at $6k.
The lights I choose to use in my own business, and were featured in my LED Interview Lighting DVD, did cost me about $6K. But to me the cost was worth it and was a much better value than cheaper lights that might not perform as well or hold up to the rigors of daily production. But that doesn't mean there aren't less expensive options that will work good enough for other people's needs. For example, if I use a BMW to teach you how to drive, that doesn't mean you can't take what you learn and drive a Chevy instead if that fits your budget better. In my DVD and workshops I try to focus on the overall principles of lighting, camera setup, depth-of-field, and other factors that have nothing to with the brand or cost of LED lights being used. I simply used the lights in the DVD that I like best and already own.

However, with that said, even the least expensive LED light kit, that would be sufficient for lighting interviews, will cost more than an equivalent tungsten kit. And if you can't afford to put together a decent LED kit, you are better off staying with tungsten for the time being.

For LED: http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_LEDDVD.html
For Tungsten: http://www.vortexmedia.com/DVD_ILDVD.html
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Old August 30th, 2013, 04:30 PM   #8
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

If you switch horses, this wheeled hard case is still for sale and may be the basis for building a lighter padded case:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/private-...ml#post1796239
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

To answer your question Rob. This has been a common setup for my talking heads:
1 Alzo Pan-l-Lite twin (400W equivalent) with a grid as my key
1 Alzo Pan-l-Lite twin dimmed as a fill (or pop-up 42" reflector depending on space/time constraints.
312 LED as a hair light (easy to mount on a boom pole, self-powered, no big concerns about lower CRI rating).

When time and space allow, I'll bring out the pro light as a kick and a 300W betweenie fresnel with a gobo if I'm dealing with a boring background in need of some dress-up.

It's not the most compact kit compared to LED's, but I re-purposed a rolling bowling ball bag that holds both Pan-L-Lites, the LED, cords/cables/makeup kit/ reflector and Pro-light. That leaves one bag for the camera and one for the stands.

Biggest benefit has been in setup time. With no softbox to worry about, and built-in grid, I get a soft, dimmable and controllable light in only a minute or two.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:19 AM   #10
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Hey, guys, I totally forgot about this thread! I ended up keeping my ARRI kit, and piecing together all the parts to make Doug Jensen's kit. Doug, if you're reading this, thanks so much for your great help via the DVD. I filmed an interview a couple of days ago using my new kit, and it looks miles above what I was doing before. I'm still editing it, but here's a sample (I know, you hate plants in the shot, but I couldn't help myself):

Avalon School of Music Interview - YouTube
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Old September 5th, 2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Looking good Patrick, although I would have lowered the height of the fill a bit to get into the dark eye sockets a little more. Deep-set eyes, glasses, bald heads, and bad skin require lighting tweaks that aren't usually covered in tutorial videos. You could also incorporate a bounce card from below, needs no outlet and creates no heat.

Was it me, or was the eyeline a bit high?
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Old September 5th, 2013, 11:41 AM   #12
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

I agree, the eyeline was a little high, especially on the B cam. My fill was a gold reflector, actually. I played with it a bit, but it's not a direct instrument like an actual light fixture. Things on which to improve next time!
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Old September 5th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #13
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Patrick Janka...nice work! Simple, clean and it communicates. People in the 'visual arts' world are always critical of their work. I can take a photograph I captured years ago and point-out all the 'flaws' as I see them. Of course, most people not in the 'biz', think they're great images. It's the nature of the beast. : )

Regards,

J.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 01:42 PM   #14
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
Hey, guys, I totally forgot about this thread! I ended up keeping my ARRI kit, and piecing together all the parts to make Doug Jensen's kit. Doug, if you're reading this, thanks so much for your great help via the DVD. I filmed an interview a couple of days ago using my new kit, and it looks miles above what I was doing before. I'm still editing it, but here's a sample (I know, you hate plants in the shot, but I couldn't help myself):
Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the comments on the DVD and I'm glad that has helped. It's always nice to get that kind of feedback.

However, with said, I hope you don't mind if I point out that your key light is on the wrong side!! You'd have an even better shot if you flipped it. I'm going to send you a couple other comments privately.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 01:58 PM   #15
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Re: Sell ARRI Softbox I for Doug Jensen Interview Kit?

Thanks, Doug!
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